1. Take on the teacher’s needs
As a teaching assistant, your number one job is to assist the classroom teacher. Over the first few days of settling, take notes, study the way in which they teach, understand what is expected of you and don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s okay to be inquisitive and it definitely shows enthusiasm. If there are particular children who need support, or specific jobs that needs doing, determine early on what your most important responsibilities will entail, and concentrate on perfecting them. The more you can help those around you, the smoother the days will go.
2. Familiarise yourself with your surrounds
The better you know your subject, the curriculum, and the classroom, the more you will be able to assist those who need it. Ask for lessons plans, books, maps of the school, and any scheduled events that you will be a part of. Having a set agenda and understanding the lessons that your pupils may need help with will mean that they can come to you and ease the teacher’s load. Not only will this prove to the school that you were the perfect choice, but will also help you build trusting relationships with the children.
3. Offer support at parents evenings
Many of you will work one-to-one with students, so you’ll have plenty to feedback to their parents. It may be that your school has specific rules about who can communicate, so check with your peers first. Be sure to keep any meetings professional, and if you are dealing with behavioural problems from the student, be sure to include highlights of things the child does well. This will increase the cooperation and communication you will get between yourself, the teacher, and the parents.
4. Take charge when the teacher is needed elsewhere
A trip to the bathroom or an unexpected emergency happen to the best of us. Although it may only be for a short period of time, make the teacher aware that you are happy to take on this sort of responsibility and work hard to prove you’re ready for it. Showing both willingness and confidence is a great way for you to get yourself noticed within a school. If you work with very young children you must be prepared for the occasional “accident” and its aftermath. You can also expect that sometimes kids will say some pretty funny or strange things. Again, watch your teacher for how to respond in an appropriate, kind, and respectful manner.
5. Build bonds with your students
One of the most rewarding aspects of working in a school is that you get to make a difference to plenty of lives. Whilst the teacher will work with the whole of the class, you get the privileged of spending time with particular children, helping them to succeed and achieve in ways they may have originally struggled with before. Take the time to get to know the individuals you are working with, trust is a major element when
6. Ask for feedback
It may only come every so often (as your teacher will most probably be running around like a headless chicken), but it’s always a great idea to ask for feedback or ways to improve if given the chance. Most people simply don’t think to offer suggestions or only think to give it when it is in some way negative. Make it a standard practice to ask those the school to interact with how you’re doing.
Need some more advice? Drop one of the team a message.